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“If 1.33 is Confining, This Will Really Give You What You’re After”: DP Jarin Blaschke on The Lighthouse

Cut off from civilization, two lighthouse keepers fight the elements and themselves in The Lighthouse, a period drama directed by Robert Eggers and written by Eggers and his brother Max. Starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, the film premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke shot Eggers’s previous feature, The Witch (2015), as well as the Eggers shorts The Tell-Tale Heart (2008) and Brothers (2015). The Lighthouse was filmed in Nova Scotia in black-and-white and a 1:1.19 aspect ratio. It screened in the Debut Cinematographers series at Camerimage, the International Film Festival […]

“And For The Real Hero Close Ups… You Wanna Use The Stuff You Find Inside Baby Diapers.”: D.P Mark Schwartzbard on the Practical Snow, Fire, and Black Goo Blood of Black Christmas

D.P Mark Schwartzbard (Master Of None, Always Shine, Love) does spot-on Abel Ferrara and Christopher Walken impersonations. He loaded for three days on Ferrara’s cancelled Pants On Fire, two on Rxmas, and a day on New Rose Hotel, where he witnessed Walken perched at the water fountain on his knees, hands behind his back, neck craned, mouth open catching the cascade. Returning to set after lunch, Walken brought the crew up to speed: “For lunch I was an alligator.”  [Schwartzbard later clarified this was a story he heard and did not witness himself. The details of Walken’s alligator form are […]

“When You Don’t Have a Lot of Time Film Actually Helps”: DP Rachel Morrison on the Kristen Stewart-Starring Seberg

At the height of her fame, actor Jean Seberg was targeted by the FBI for her political beliefs. Clandestine surveillance and smear campaigns helped damage her career, destroy her personal relationships, and led her to doubt her sanity. In Seberg, director Benedict Andrews explores both the actor, played by Kristen Stewart, and an FBI agent assigned to her case (Jack O’Connell). The script (by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse) also shows how the COINTELPRO operation helped undermine the civil rights movement. The Amazon Studios release opened theatrically December 13. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison worked with Andrews and production designer Jahmin Assa […]

“This Is the First Film Todd and I Filmed Digitally”: DP Ed Lachman on Dark Waters

Starting with 2002’s Far from Heaven, cinematographer Ed Lachman worked with director Todd Haynes on four features before this year’s Dark Waters. Based on a true story, the movie follows corporate attorney Rob Bilott (played by Mark Ruffalo) as he investigates industrial pollution on a farm in Appalachia. The case widened to include the entire town of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and led to a years-long lawsuit against DuPont. Lachman spoke with Filmmaker at Camerimage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, held this year in Toruń, Poland. Filmmaker: How did you and Todd approach this story? Lachman: In his storytelling Todd has always dealt with how our culture treats the outsider and insider. The difference is […]

“This Little Live Show I was Doing on the Board”: DP Larry Sher on Joker

The Gotham City of Joker is a mere fraction of a degree removed from the New York City of 1981, a time and place Larry Sher knows well. The Hangover and Godzilla: King of the Monsters cinematographer grew up in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey and would sneak into the city on the bus as a teenager in the early 1980s. Sher channeled those experiences—as well as the seminal New York films of the era—to evoke the alienating urban nightmare of Gotham.  “My approach for Joker was to feed a little bit off of what the city looked like in my […]

“A Scare is an Algorithm”: DP Checco Varese on It Chapter Two

Read a few Checco Varese interviews and you’ll quickly discover that the Peruvian cinematographer likes to talk about his job through similes and metaphors. He’ll compare cinematographers to chefs who shop at the same store and cook with the same ingredients, yet create distinct dishes. He’ll say that partnering with a director is like partnering in a marriage (sometimes for Varese that’s literally true–his wife Patricia Riggen is a director and frequent collaborator). He’ll tell you that a good scare is like an algorithm or that crafting a suspense sequence is akin to nurturing a plant. For It Chapter Two, […]